The FDJ & Junge Pioniere
The most important youth organization was the Free German Youth (Freie Deutsche Jugend-FDJ) founded in 1946. 72% of the population are 14 to 25 were members in the late 1970s .Membership was voluntary, but essential to become a SED party member in later life .
Young Pioneers (Junge Pioniere JP)
The Ernst Thalmann Pioneers Organization ( Junge Pioniere-JP) was an auxiliary of the FDJ, with entry at 6 years of age through age 14. The famous motto of the JP was "Seid bereit - Immer Bereit ! Be ready ! This was also Always ready ! This was also a customary to begin classes across the GDR. The Society for Sports and Technology (Gesellschaft fur Sport und Technik-GST) provided paramilitary activities such as parachuting and marksmanship. The German Gynamistics and Sports Federation trained Olympic athletes . The FDJ's official newspaper was Junge Welt, which at one time was the largest-circulation paper in East Germany. It continues publication today on a smaller scale without FDJ affiliation.
The FDJ continues to exist in Germany today, on a much smaller scale. Ernst Thalmann (1886-1944) was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during much of the Weimar Republic. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1933 and held in solitary confinement for eleven years, before being shot in Buchenwald on Adolf Hitler's orders in 1944. In 1936, the Thälmann Battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War was named in his honour. Members pledged that "Ernst Thälmann is my role model," adding that "I promise to learn to work and fight as Ernst Thälmann teaches"
The Young Pioneer salute
Young Pioneer badge